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Estate planning for same-sex couples is important

As the state of same-sex marriage across the country changes, people who are in same-sex relationships might be concerned about how they can ensure their partner is taken care of after they pass away. As unpleasant as estate planning might be for some people, it is necessary for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender couples who might or might not have protections under the ever-changing laws. Our readers in Texas might like to learn a bit about estate planning for same-sex couples.

Should we create wills?

Everyone should have a will. If you don't have a will, the state uses state laws to determine who property should be handled. When you are in a same-sex relationship, this could mean that your partner doesn't get any of your assets, even if you partner helped you get them. Think of what would happen to your home if you own it. If it is in your name and you pass away without a will, your partner might have to move because one of your heirs would get the house.

What do we need for medical care?

Same-sex couples need to have advance directives in place to ensure their end-of-life wishes are known. You also need a durable power of attorney, a Designation of Agent, and a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act authorization. Without naming your partner in these documents, your partner might not be able to be with you or make decisions for you at the end of your life.

Any estate planning is better than no estate planning. When you are creating plans for your final days and after you pass away, knowing how to handle any situation is valuable. Turning to someone with experience planning for same-sex couples might help you make a solid plan.

Source: MassMutual, "Estate planning issues for lesbian and gay couples" Joan M. Burda, Dec. 03, 2014

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